A Little About Me

New York, New York
As a newly married woman, it has become my mission in life to learn how to cook. Gone are the days of picking up sushi and ordering curries. In order to jump-start my education, I enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education's Fine Cooking I course where I learned the basics, from roasting to boiling to mousse-making (ok, maybe not that basic)! I've attempted to replicate some recipes - somewhat successfully- and create a few of my own. This blog is for friends and foodies and is intended to document my cooking adventures (and occasional fiascoes). Enjoy the pictures and bon appetite!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chutney...... Best. Indian. Condiment.

As I mentioned in my last post, I put together a fantastic Indian-themed dinner over the weekend. When I eat out in Indian restaurants, one of my favorite condiments is always mango chutney. The chutney I made was sweet and fruity and served as an excellent compliment to the savory tandoori lamb. While my version was sweet, I think next time I might try adding some red chili pepper flakes or chili powder to achieve that sweet and spicy flavor I love oh so much!

3 cups diced ripe mango
1 inch peeled and diced fresh ginger
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced garlic clove
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp honey

Place all the above ingredients in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low heat. Simmer until thick, about 20 minutes, stirring often.

Let cool and serve! This chutney was delicious when combined with the tandoori flavored lamb previously posted about!

Tandoori Lamb Two Ways

I'll admit, I've been a little lazy with the blog posting lately. It's not that I haven't been cooking, it's just that I haven't been making anything new. It's so easy to rely on past dishes, knowing they will be well-received. After spending the weekend with my husband, sister and her boyfriend, I fell back into old habits, preparing a variety of new dishes for everyone to enjoy!

My first dish back is a tandoori flavored lamb. I've been pretty obsessed with lamb lately and am on a mission to prepare it in as many mouthwatering ways as possible! Friday night, I prepared the lamb two different ways with help from two talented grill masters. -The first preparation were kebobs, which we threw on the grill and the second was prepared in a pan with olive oil which allowed the lamb to cook in its marinade. Both were really delicious and the evening's Indian theme means some great Indian recipes are on their way!

1 tsp each cumin powder, garam masala, onion powder
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
8 minced garlic cloves
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp sweet paprika
3 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper
1 lb boneless leg of lamb, cut into chunks

Start by heating the garam masala, cumin and cardamon in a dry pan over low heat for two minutes. When heated, they become insanely fragrant and will make your home smell like an Indian restaurant :)

Add the onion powder and garlic, and allow it to sit for another two minutes in the heated pan.

Transfer the spices into a bowl and add the yogurt, paprika, curry, cilantro, pepper and salt. Mix well.

Coat the lamb chunks with the marinade and let it sit for at least an hour so that the lamb can absorb all the flavors, particularly the sweet cilantro.

Either thread the lamb onto wooden skewers with vegetables and grill over medium heat until medium, or cook in a pan - about 2 to 3 minutes on each side- with two tbsp of olive oil.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Taste of the Caribbean

While I have posted many ethnic recipes (i.e. pad thai, chicken curry), I have yet to share one from my own country of origin... Puerto Rico! Growing up, my family frequently ate at a restaurant called 'Tropical," which had the best black bean soup and tostones I've ever had and fondly remember. Tostones are a traditional dish commonly eaten in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba (where my father hails from). A fried, squashed plantain, it can be eaten alone or with a variety of dipping sauces, my favorite being Mayoketchup. Hope you enjoy a little taste of the Caribbean!

4 green plantains
canola oil
garlic powder

Start by soaking the plantains in hot water for about 10 minutes. This will help loosen the peel for easier removal. At the same time, fill a pot about halfway up with canola oil and let it sit over a medium low flame. If the oil becomes too hot, it will begin to smoke, a.k.a burn.

Remove the peel and segment each banana into four smaller pieces.
Now it's time to fry! You are ready to add the plantains when a few drops of water sizzle in the oil. Drop the plantain slices in the hot oil and fry until they turn slightly yellow (about a minute). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel.

Place the fried plantain flat and squash down with the bottom of a glass or small plate.This will cause the tender middle to spread while leaving the fried coat intact. Return the squashed plantains to the oil and let them fry until golden.

For a traditional Puerto Rican dipping sauce, make some Mayoketchup! This can be done by combining 1 part ketchup to 2 parts mayonnaise and seasoning with some salt and garlic powder. Season the tostones with salt as well before serving.